Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Social Class & Feminism People Like Us & The Center for Working Class Studies

So I had thought I posed this but it was saved as a draft!! AHHHHH!

On the "People like us", website, what really attracted me was the various stories about people lives and their socioeconomic background.  I was reading the different stories and was pulled into how diverse they were.I was more focused on the comments people had on the actual stories. One comment that really stuck to me was from an individual named "P" from Boston, here is a link to it click me. I quote " Race, gender and class are a real part of the American fabric. They stitch us together and are inescapable as some of us struggle to stay apart. We pretend that we are better than people like my great grandmother. I think we still have a long way to go." P, makes a very good point. The story was about how he's grandfathers wife was never really accepted into the family. His grandfathers family was very wealthy from Greece, and he married someone from a lower class, and she would always get heat from the family because "she wasn't one of their kind".

This really put a dent into the family, because they were really judging her and were not accepting at all. P, states that their needs to be much more work done in regards to issues with race, gender, and society especially with the gaps in ones socioeconomic backgrounds. He is pointing out that there is a different, and just because one has more money than the other, it does not mean one should be treated unfairly. He is saying that because it is such a large issue, it can either break up the nation or it could be of unity.

This is a Feminist issue! There not being equally for the way his grandfather's wife was being treated. Just because she was from the lower class, she was already being placed in a category where she had to be in full defense. She did not have a chance to present herself as an individual, she was already being judged.  There was not equality for her because his grandmother was already placement judgement due to the class she fell in. They were both madly in love with each other, and she could not factor out her class to accept her in the family.  As P, said, there needs to be a change for this. So that class should not be a category where people are judged.

What I really enjoyed about visiting The Center for Working-Class Studies (CWCS) at Youngstown State University (YSU)  is there amount of resources. One can get information about the working class, and see their options if one is suck, or to know information in regards to what is going on in the world.  The resources include, teaching classes, articles, a library, courses etc,  that will help anyone that is looking for specific information about the working class.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Occupy Providence

Going to Occupy yesterday was not only freeeeeeeeeeeeezeing! But it sure was an eye opener. I went with Yemi after class and decided to take pictures and read the signs and kind of just get a feel for how things were. I was very shocked to see that the park was pretty much abandoned, so when I asked Yemi if she had any insight she said that the weather is a very big factor. Which is pretty evident considering that is it very very cold out side. Yemi also told me then the movement has died down, and that they have shifted in their views.

In my post I will focus on how Occupy Providence goes hand in hand with  Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: The Roles of Allies as Agents of Change by Andrea  and Allan Johnson's article, Privilege, Power, and Difference. I rooted my connections not only from both article but also from Mike's post, which really helped me out.

I went to the website of Occupy Providence and this is what their "About Us" section entailed;
"Occupy Providence stands in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy movements throughout the world as a vehicle for socioeconomic change."
Occupy Providence is a sub section of the actual main movement of Occupy wall street. Its the representation of the 99% of the population that is being representation by the filthy rich of the 1%. They are looking for socioeconomic justice and wants the banks to spread out money evenly. Though now the movement has branch out into many different categories, that is their main focus. They get together for general meetings that occur through out the week, make signs to rally, and camp out to show what the greed of the 1% has done to their lives. They are upset about bank bail outs, foreclosures, lost of jobs and money not going to the ones in need.

Mike mentions in his blog,
"The people camping out at Occupy Providence were mainly men and a majority that I saw were white. Because these white men are fighting for financial equality, Ayvazian would classify them as allies. Johnson would claim these men have privilege and that people with privilege are the only people who can change the system.  These white men are working side by side with people of color and women for equality."

Which really brings up a good point.  Ayvazian focuses so much on how the only way this country will ever see change is if one unites with others and see that the voice of a group of people will shake grounds and create change. Ayvazian strongly believes in allies and the remarkable outcomes that comes from the support of one another, especially for the desperate need of having socioeconomic justice in this country! Not to sure on how i would feel in regards to the last part of Mike's quote in regards to the representing population in Occupy Providence were white men, because there were only about 5 when I went, I think it was just a small mix of people being there. I do know that Occupy is a mixture of people coming from various backgrounds...but the way that Mike described it, how white American men would of course gain more attention if they were speaking out that they had a problem with this, and supported the Occupy movement.

Final thoughts on Occupy:

Occupy is something that I have been intrigued by. I still do bot have a specific view, or idea behind it. It is a movement that I definitely would do more research on, and seems very interesting, and for the people of this country. I do hope that it can crate a positive change for this country and especially to balance out the inequality especially in the socioeconomic field of the society we live in!

**The pictures on this blog were from Burnside Park, in Providence, Rhode Island....from my camera!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teaching the Conflicts: Love and Helmbrecht ( Hyper Links)

When I began reading this article I will be completely honest, I was SOOOOOOO lost. But thanks to everyone posting before I finished it really gave me an insight and I was able to guide myself and find a way to make some sense out of this. Though I am not a huge fan of this article and not too much enthused about it, but I do understand the fundamental ideas about it. ( Just being honest)

In the beginning of the article both Love and Helmbrecht mention that being a third wave feminist in today's times is very difficult since there seems to be a lack of support. In the article they critique three different ideas. The musical artist Pink's song Stupid girls,  Dove's Campaign about advertising full figured women and portraying them as natural beauty, and last the movie The Devil Wears Prada.

They both start off with a quote,
The rap goes something like this: Older women drained their movement of the sexuality; younger women are uncritically sexualized. Older women  wont recognize the importance of pop culture;younger are obsessed with media representation. Older women have too narrow a definition of what make a feminist issue; younger women are scattered and don't know whats important.

This only implies that there needs to be much more education and exposure as to the issues women, and any underrepresented group is experiencing. The video below does a very good ob is briefly going over what feminists stand for, and how each one has their own identity.

Now to break down the three main critiques that were mentioned in this article, I'd like to begin with Pink's song Stupid Girls. For those of you who have not heard it, here is the YouTube Video,
In this video, the artist Pink is trying to tell the public that one does not need to conform to the ways of the media. Women can branch out and be themselves, and their personal identities as they chose. One does not have to conform to the radical consumerism, that the media has tried to implant that because you wear short shorts, having sex videos, have blonde hair and a small dog in a purse make you sexy. One needs to focus in building themselves as the individuals that they want to be seen in this world. Pink, mentions "My point is not that sexy is a bad thing; my point is that sexy and smart are not oil and water." She raise a very good point because females need to understand that just because the media is portraying females a certain way, by no means does that only say, that is the only one. Love and Helmbrecht also state, "...Melanie Lowe discovered that young women have learned a lot about their sexuality from the music and public performances of music icon like Spears." Pink wants to see females in powerful political roles, leading this country, not just having them believe that their only attribute is their bodies, and only to be used for sexual pleasure.

Love and Helmbrecht then go on to talk about the Campaign for "Real Beauty", for Dove's. Their real problem with this is that they were advertising full figured women, with supposedly no make up, no airbrush effect, just pure natural images. But Love and Helmbrecht critique it that, their products such as self tanners, skin tighteners and moisturizers are all for promoting false images in women. They both believed it was a true contradiction. Love and Helmbrecht believed this was all for a sales pitch, now women would go on and buy these products believe their natural abilities but really they are buying in to the consumerism idea. Love and Helmbrecht state that one, 
"Many young women of today consider their consumption of certain products that support “good” causes as one and the same with developing a critical political consciousness. This lack of truly grasping the issue, whether it be AIDS, sustainability, or breast cancer, limits both the social or environmental issue itself as well as the consumer. If the consumer’s foundation for understanding an issue is based upon and associated with the product they purchased,
there is a disconnect between buying the product and supporting the cause. . . . Society, and third wave feminists in particular, needs to understand the complexities of the issues within
society in order to truly change their community. The development of a critical social and political awareness is absolutely necessary to make change."
This very long quote (lol) basically breaks down to females needing to not just buy the product that's being advertised for a cause, and but to actually understand and do research in what they are investing their money in. People generally buy the product that is being advertised to them to take away the guilty feeling of not buying them, and having to go home with the idea that they did not help a general cause.

Lastly, Love and Helmbrecht gets right into the movie  The Devil Wears Prada. This one is pretty self explanatory, they are criticizing the main character in the film which is played by Anne Hathaway. Love and Helmbrecht  state that this character depicts the capitalist version of a post feminist discourse of empowerment. They both believe that the film buys into a consumerism view on how women need to be materialistic to show that they are successful. That it is a matter of imagine and not a matter of intellect.

Thoughts for class: Wow this was a lengthy post. How can society finally accept that average American models are truly not average American figures? Who gets to chose whats beauty? Why is it that for every charity there needs to be a sales pitch? Cant one just want to simply donate, and how can that be motivated? As much as the media is a heavy impact on today's society, its truly sad to see that sex sells, and only will that generate more sales to the business man's pocket. How can be move away from that ideology, and move into something that will be much more beneficial to our society?

Interrupting the Cycle of Oppresion- Andrea Ayvazian (Connection)

First off I have to say I really did enjoy reading this article.Andrea Ayvazian did a very good job in stating the problem of oppression, and concluding it with what needs to be done to break the cycle, which is taking on the role of an ally. Not only does hit article tie in to the over idea of the class, but it also ties in with the article we read earlier in our short semester, by Yamato, "Something about the subject makes it hard to name." (another favorite)

Yamato's pieces was in relation to the different types of racism's. Which are:
  • Balant and Obvious
    • "I do not want you here because of the color of your skin"
  • Aware/ Covert
    • "I want these Spanish people to move out, so I will raise the rent, so they cant afford to live here" 
  • Unaware/ Unintentional
    • " Can I touch your hair? Wow it is not as coarse as I thought it would be"
  •  Unaware/ Self Righteous
    • Good White vs. Bad White
      • Good white is so focused on trying to not be racist by involving themselves in an under represented, oppresses community that they forget about themselves and/or about the community they belong in.  They are focused on others that they feel the need that they can teach another community about their problems.
  Yamato list clear bullet points of the different types of racism. And Ayvazian focuses on how one can take on the role of an ally to break the oppression, of the multiple types of racism that exist in today's time. Ayvazian states,
" What does seem to create real and lasting change is high motivated individuals, usually a hand ful at first who are so clear and consistent on an issue that they serve as a heart bet in a community, steadily sending out waves that touch and change those in their path. These change agents or allies have such a powerful impact because their actions embody the values they profess: their behavior and beliefs are congruent. (116)"
I quickly thought about Martin Luther King Jr., not only beucase in his holiday in his membrance passed, but because he is one of those allies that fought extremely hard to fight racism. He and his agenda to have everyone love each other and not worry about the color of ones skin, was the heart beat that Ayvazian is talking about, It was that first leap that needed to happen in order to create the loud noise that change needs to occur.

Ayvazian, defines an ally as "a member of a dominant group in our society who works to dismantle any form of oppression from which she of he benefit." This is one of the many steps that needs to happen to abolish oppression. One needs to take a stand, and immediately put a stop to it. Though there are consequences when standing up to an issue that holds a heavy weight, but when one finds an ally in the same group/room, one will feel much better and supported to go against the issue. Ayvazian also tweaks David Wellman's definition of oppression, so that i can fit into the various forms of the -ism family. Wellman define oppression by  "a system of advantage base on a race". Ayvazian then tweaks it by saying " sexism is a system of advantage based on gender, that hetero sexism is a system of advantage based on sexual orientation etc. " This connects with Yamato's piece because its breaking down the different groups that are experiencing the oppression. Yamato goes into detail on the different form, and one must take the stand to it and fight it beucase it is wrong, with this quote
"Challenge oppression. Take a stand against it. When you are aware of something oppressive going down. Stop the show. At least call it. We becomes so numbed to racism that we don't even think twice about it unless it is immediately life threatening. "
 Ayvazian would definelty agree with Yamatos quote here, because Ayvazian wants people to get together and challenge it. Once a group of allies is formed the risk of experiencing violence due to taking a stand against is will be reduced. There will always be a fear when one is taking a stand against a controversial topic. But having allies behind you and all around you, reduces the anxiety and fear of going against it.
Ways to become allies (not limited to):
  • Join Support Groups
  • Speak up!
  • Be the change you want to see.-Ghandi
  • Become a positive role model.
  • Lead by example.
  • Understand the problem, and focus on the solution. 
  • Be yourself!
Discussion for class:

What are other creative ways one can individual stand up and become allies? Just as Professor Bogad has mentioned in class its better to be prepared for when you are in a situation where an individual is being oppressed, one can already have a smart way to get to the person that is belittling the other.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Extended Comments on Adrienne Rich's "Complusory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

    Holy Cow!

    Not only was this a difficult read, but with shifting through 3 jobs and moving, I have no idea how I am up and running. (Just needed to vent that out)

    Now to the real deal, I decided to choose the extended comment option, since I personally did not understand the entire article at a first chance, but when I was able to come in to work this morning, and read through other people's blogs, the light bulb switch finally turned on!

    I wanted to extend comments on Merylda's blogs (kudos!). Merylda did an awesome job breaking it down to fine points, and  did a very good job in point out some clarification. 

    The opening of Merylda's blog was very clear and stated Rich's argument to the t. As I paraphrase, that women are afraid to be themselves in a society that gives them the pressure that they have to be heterosexual, and because of this pressure, the existence of lesbians is questionable. The definition Merylda gives about compulsory heterosexuality is " men command and force woman's sexuality."

    Adrienne Rich states eight male forces that are percieved as powers:
    1. to deny women sexuality  (punishment including death for female adultery, lesbian sexuality etc.)
    2. to force it (male sexuality )upon them (wife beating, brother sister incest etc.
    3. to command or exploit their labor to control their produce(motherhood as unpaid production, pimping etc.)
    4. to control or rob them of their children ( systematized infanticide, enforced sterilization etc )
    5. to confine them physically and prevent their movement ( rape, high heel as in feminine dress code, sexual harassment on the streets etc. )
    6. to use them as objects in male transactions (bride price, hostess, call girls etc)
    7. to cramp their creativeness 
    8. to with hold from them large areas of the society's knowledge and cultural attainments (sex role tracking  etc)
    Women sometimes and depending on the specific environment believe they have to use their sexuality to obtain what they need. If it is a job, a favor, money etc. Men have used these eight powers to take the control over women, to keep them in a place where the men can be the powerful ones, and the women can stay at the submissive level. Rich states, "Men feel they can take advantage, so they want to, so they do."  This is clear evidence, that men want to use their power for the wrong reasons, and to belittle women to obtain the gratification that they are "higher up on females." Men projecting themselves to be dominant, to instill fear in women, to basically get what they want. It is a selfish characteristics that women have to put a stop to! 

    Merylda then goes on to talk about Lesbians, and their existence. Because of the pressure that women should be heterosexual and should only be with a man, the questioning of lesbians is in the air. One's sexual preference should not make them an outcast in society. If a women feels comfortable in identifying herself as a lesbian, because she is attracted to women, their should not be a pressure that she feels, that she is in the wrong. Merylda states "Throughtout history, lesbians were thought of female versions of male homosexuality, but Rich said if you are to compare lesbian existence to male homosexuality would be to completely ignore the existence of lesbians." Which makes perfect sense, even from taking a small sample from my friends who are members of the LGBT community, they have mentioned it is much easier within their community for a male gay couple, then for a female lesbian couple. This definitely gives society an insight on something else that society needs to work on and gear themselves to a much more accepting community. 

                                                              Adrienne Rich


    Overall I enjoyed the classes response to this article. For me it was something I was not necessarily aware of.  I remember back in high school I was one out of 3 other females working for an engineering  company. I was the youngest, 15 years old at the time, and the other two females were much older( in their 50's). I remember I was treated as the one that needed delicacy, but I would tell them that I was confident in the work that I can produce, and with the proper training, I would be just up to par as to how the company needed me to work. I understand that I was young, but since the entire company was dominated by men (20+ men), when they saw that another female was brought in to work, they saw me as the one to make coffee, or get lunches, when my job title was lab assistant. hmph. Oh and did I mention, I was getting paid, extremely LOW!

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Never get sick and tired of watching this!

    Cinderella ate my daughter. -Arguement

    "Having it all, Being it all. "

    Peggy Orenstein, argues about the damage Disney Princesses have created among girls between the ages of two through six. Orenstein does not agree with the ideas behind the Disney Princesses. She believes the princesses do not have content within themselvs. Orenstein believes that the Disney Princess brand is solely for business purposes, and it is slowly ruining the imaginations of little school girls. Orenstein says it is filled with stereo types and false beliefs about the real world that little girls should not become exposed to. Orenstein sees it as the brand creating such high pressures to be perfect and with the idea of "have it all and being it all".

    I can personally agree with Orenstein to a certain extent. I will say that I have grown up watching Disney movies, and have been naive to really understand the true meaning behind them. Now it is hard to really see a movie and try  to believe that there is true innocence behind it. Orenstein is saying that Disney Princesses are a bad idea, but what I want to add is, having too much of the exposure would be damaging. Just as the saying goes, "too much of anything is not good for you." As females, we already live in a time where there is that pressure of having it all and being it all at the same time, but one has to come to their senses, that that is not realistic. There needs to be a point in time where someone can say, the pressure is too much, and the levee needs to be pulled.

    I fell in love with this idea of showing little girls that love oneself is by far more important then having to please everyone around you. Perfect does not exist, and if it were too it would surely be boring. Little girls in today's time need to embrace themselves being different in a good way. Parenting styles need to accommodate to this as well, girls from the ages of 2-6 should not have their primary focus on watching television, but inspiring them to become amazing people in life, but having them defining it themselves.

    I end it with this, the only pressure one should feel is a pressure of motivation, to be happy within themselves, healthy mentally and physically, but over all striving to be the person they want to be in life. As a woman I have had plenty of conversations with guy friends, girl friends, family, coworkers, classmates and strangers, of the idea of "happily ever after". And it could exist, but it takes work. And the media likes to sell the idea of it all being a quick fix. Which creates the suddenness of perfection, in unhealthy terms. Lets all monitor the media that is being exposed to children and encourage them to becomes healthy productive individuals, that they themselves are happy with. 

    Points I'd like to share in class:  
    • Does the pressure of being superwoman (aggressive and aggreable. Smart and stunning, etc ) come more from men or media?
    • Is a non super-woman unattractive?
    • Are we looking too much into it, where everything as become a subliminal messages? (movies, lyrics, photographs, etc.?

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Yamato: Something about the subject makes it hard to name it :Quotes

    After reading this article it automactically reminded me of this video I had watched in highschool.
    Black Ice, "Imagine"

    These are the three quotes that really touched me while reading this article. Overall Yamato did a very good job in describing the different types of racism. I had seen it on a personal level in different circumstance but has the title of the article mentions, just didn't have an exact name for it.

    Quote 1 :

    "Members of the target group are emotionally, physically and spiritually battered to the point that they begin to actually believe that their oppression is deserved, is their lot in life, is natural and right and that it doesn’t even exist. The oppression becomes comfortable."

    This quote does a very good job is displaying that racism is a bad habit, that has been ingrained in the system of how this country/world is being run by. One of the core reasons as to why racism is still happening is because when one gets comfortable, with the environment, even though they may not personally agree with what is going one, change seems impossible. Or fear inhibits them to be motivated and look for change.  One of the saddest things oppression has done to this country, is how one can feel bad about themselves because of the injustice that has been down to them, without their own control.

     Quote 2:

    "If it seems that your color is the reason, if it seems that your ethnic heritage is the cause off the woe, it because you've been deliberately beaten down by agents of a greedy system until you swallowed the garbage. That is internalization of racism. "

    With this quote I just personally enjoyed how to put together the definition of internalized racism.  I firmly agree one should be treated for the individual that they are. How they themselves describe and present themselves. Its only fair and right. Yomato did an amazing job with this quote that she honestly says it all.

    Quote 3:

    "Challenge oppression. Take a stand against it. When you are aware of something oppressive going down, stop the show. At least call it. We become so numbed to racism that we don’t even think twice about it, unless it is immediately life-threatening."

    I really enjoyed how Yamato ends the article. It is very positive yet realistic. She understands that this will not take an hour,a day or just one workshop. But it will take a lot of time ese
    Challenge oppression. Take a stand against it. When you are aware of something oppressive going down, stop the show. At least call it. We become so numbed to racism that we don’t even think twice about it, unless it is immediately life-threatening.
    pcially since the oppression lasted for so many years.  What I took out of the last message was to stay true to oneself, and really fight for what you know is right. And I agree with her. No one is better then anyone else. The improvement and concern for humanity should be at heart when one is thinking of being unjust or racist, just to try to make this world a tad bit better. One step at a time!

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Johnson : Privilege, Power and Difference, Reflection

    Johnson started in the most perfect way, by saying that " We are all part of the problem". I can definitely agree, because I feel if one is only complaining and just looking at the problem for what it is, and not necessarily doing anything to fix it, then the person is only being idle to the situation and is not necessarily adding to the solution. I personally feel that the best way to personally avoid and stay away from being and acting in an unjust way towards society and towards any individual is by simply acting upon others in a way they, themselves would want to be treated, respect and nonetheless, viewed upon.

     This relates to me in countless ways, especially since I am Hispanic, I am already placed in a situation (due to the society I live in ), where I am at the bottom of the latter compared to another individual such as a Caucasian, living under the same circumstances as me, and with the same criteria. Which ties into the power segment.It is a constant battle that because I am a Hispanic Female, I have to work twice as harder has the stereotypical white man. Its a constant struggle, to have to always prove myself, where I always end up believing and living my life, as I should do as a please for the goodness of myself, and for others.

    Question for thought...How can we individually chance the social systems, so the majority can feel heard and respected?


    What I did over break? Honestly, I enjoyed my holidays with close ones, yet more excitingly I finally celebrated my 21st birthday. What did this mean for me? It was a sign of maturity and an indication to adulthood. I luckily spent it with those that I consider good friends, family, and great co-workers. I enrolled in this course to fulfill my graduation requirements, something that I am really looking forward to this year. I will soon be a RIC graduate and consider myself ready for the challenges that come after graduation. Hopefully some of you will share that stage with me this year. From this course I plan to learn and achieve exactly what our syllabus describes, “Analyze the live of women and men using the lenses of feminism and emphasizing the legal, economic, political, and social constructions of race, class, gender, and sexuality.” In addition, I hope to utilize these sociological perspectives in my Psychology career.